Cooking up Italian staples and baking pizza has been a Walker family tradition since 1969, first at a pizza franchise and now at their own Old Shawnee Pizza and Italian Kitchen. They use the skills they've perfected over the last 40 years to make everything from their Alfredo-topped ravioli stuffed with three types of seafood to their Midwest-style pizzas on homemade dough.
They first top their inventive pizzas with sauces such as the classic red, salsa, spicy peanut, or garlic olive oil. From there, they use their multitude of unique toppings to create most any pie their customers can dream up, barring ones that bear an uncanny resemblance to Burt Reynolds. They also cook up specialty pizzas such as the Caribbean Jerk, made with jerk sauce, chicken, onions, pineapple, and roasted red peppers.
Before the owners of Pie Zano’s Pizzeria opened their restaurant, they knew that their toughest critics would be their own relatives. That’s because they planned for their menu to include the time-tested recipes that were passed down for generations. After receiving high marks in a family taste test, they flung open the doors of the neighborhood eatery to share their creations with the community. For an added touch of freshness, their specialty pizzas, meatball subs, and pastas boast ingredients culled from local sources. The family-owned establishment also shows its dedication to the community by supporting area youth sports programs.
Wheat State Pizza! has more kinds of pizza than a high school football coach has inspiring halftime speeches. The abundance comes from a rainbow of options diners mix-and-match to create unique combinations, starting with a whole wheat, white, or gluten-free crust topped with homemade sauces in flavors such as traditional red and whipped cream cheese. On that base, diners can construct a masterpiece pie from a palette of more than 30 toppings including standards such as pepperoni and sausage along with gourmet variants sunflower seeds, avocado, and soy cheese. Though diners don't need to assemble their own combination to enjoy a pie, as, like the Christmas list of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, the menue includes 15 types of specialty pizza. Creations such as the chicken carbonara treat mouths to a velvety blend of alfredo sauce, chicken, mushrooms, mozzarella, and bacon atop a hand-tossed or thin crust. Non-pizza options include the Crispy Chicken Salad and philly cheese steak sandwiches with chicken or beef. Diners can end their meals on a sweet note with one of the restaurant's medley of dessert pizzas, which layer wheat crust with saccharine toppings such as cream-cheese frosting, and apple pie filling.
After a career of playing professional baseball, Bill Kelso hung up his jersey, tied on his apron, and started the original Kelso’s Pizza in 1969. Located near William Jewell College, the pizzeria quickly became a favorite haunt of the Chiefs players while they attended training camp. Despite relocating the restaurant, the current owners, Jeff and Kelly, still honor their father’s storied sports legacy; vintage photographs, jerseys, and generations of family trophies line the dining room’s walls while six flat-screen televisions play live sports broadcasts or chat with each other about their fantasy baseball teams.
Kelso’s Pizza strives to be more than a sports bar, though. Instead, the family emphasizes serving pizzeria staples in a family-friendly environment. The menu brims with baseball-themed names, like the Grand Slam pizza with eight hearty toppings—including sausage, mushrooms, and julienned stat sheets—and a host of toasted sandwiches, such as the Pennant Winner, a roast beef delight oozing with melted provolone and Kelso’s buttermilk dressing.
Emerging from a wood-fired oven framed by brick and white marble, gooey, melted mozzarella bubbles atop a freshly crafted pizza. With this oven as their centerpiece, Open Fire Pizza’s pizzaioli curate a menu of gourmet pizzas and calzones composed of fresh, local, and organic ingredients. The pizzeria strives to make a minimal impact on the environment by powering its eatery with rooftop solar panels, maintaining zero-trash policies, and fueling its ovens with wood from well-hugged trees. Meanwhile, Open Fire Pizza nourishes its surrounding community by hosting regular art openings and open-mic nights.
At two locations, The Other Place’s staff fires up ovens to bake pizzas, italian subs, and sandwiches to a golden brown—the color of Pharaoh’s mask after he eats a chocolate bar. Atop hand-made pizza crusts made from a 40-year-old recipe, the kitchen team layers toppings such as italian sausage, salami, and sun-dried tomatoes, lubricated by tomato, alfredo, and barbecue sauce. Submarine-shaped bread holds italian meats, veggies, and toppings. In both eateries’ dining areas, more than 50 TVs stream sports games. The Other Place also often entertains guests with karaoke—America’s most underappreciated sport, and the one with the least funding in most school districts.